Yami Gautam’s new movie “Lost” is a canvas of layered issues that come together in a story that is perfectly imperfect. We got a chance to speak to her about her movie, the experience and what else she is up to. Cool, collected and in blue, Ms Dhar is vivacious, attractively energetic and enthusiastic.
It was wee hours of the morning and she bought more energy to the chat then even our deadly coffee. ” It is always easy to interact with someone who has watched the movie.” Yes, we had and as we reviewed it we wondered about the way Ms. Dhar chooses her movies.
“My motivation was very simple.The script.I loved the script. I love my part. I wanted to work with Aniruddha Roy Chaudhary, my director because the kind of sensibility and sensitivity that he brings to the fore.”
“It’s been a great, overwhelming experience working on the film.Working with a set of actors and technicians was my honor. We were shooting in the midst of humidity in Kolkata and those of you who don’t know, you have to visit that place in the month of July to August to really understand what I’m saying. We were shooting in real streets with a real crowd. Everything was real about it and the emotions that you see are because the director was very clear about the movie he was making. He wanted to make a very honest film. So and now to see it having been released and the movie finding its audience, it is a great joy. I think I’m very thankful to have been a part of it.”
The movie was layered with a myriad of social issues. Essentially the topics that strongly affect the youth of contemporary India: caste-based discrimination, politics, political influence over the police, and the dangers of activism. With all these undercurrents, sometimes it is difficult for the actors to keep their focus the character arc of their own role in the midst of the issues. How difficult was it for Ms. Dhar to keep tabs on her character?
“My basic rule or my basic approach to any character that I work on, is all the answers are in your script.”
She adds, “If it’s a good script, we’ll have all the answers in it. So I’m extremely thorough with my script. At the onset when you do that, you just get better at keeping focus. Irrespective of what you are playing, the location or whatever you are doing, if you are thorough, it works. And of course, as you said, the director is always there to guide and get you to make sure that you’re not carried away anywhere in emotions, and that you are on the rhythm of what the film is.”
“The same character can be played, performed in a very different way. But it’s the director’s choice. It’s his voice actually, that I’m expressing that he wants it to be. For Vidhi in Lost, there could be chaos all around her. But her character had to be centered. Even if she’s at the most chaotic situation in the script, she has to be centered because that’s who the audience is with.” explains Ms. Dhar
“It was a lot of prep work, a lot of work. A lot of fine tuning and fine balance between your understanding of the character and how you want to approach it. Because sometimes, when you come across a scene or you feel that you know how much emotion is required or so much projection is required to make your point, it may not be necessarily what the Director wants.”
” You know, Mr Chaudhary is very clear- he kept telling me that less is more.” She explains the tenor of the movie, “While you may feel the conversations in the movie are simple and underwhelming, but is that happens in our normal lives also. We do not resort to projecting every time we talk or when trying to make a point. The idea to find that fine balance, which I think I give a lot of credit to the homework and prep work that I put in with my director.”
Yami had some wonderful co-actors in this movie. With elite veteran Pankaj Kapoor to suave and sophisticated Rahul Khanna, Yami Gautam had the opportunity to work with a wealth of talent. There is a scene where you see Pankaj Kapur and Yami Gautam’s conversation about the case of the missing boy and within seconds you realize what a masterclass in acting Mr Kapur is. Rahul Khanna, as a corrupt politician, is the perfect mix of a suave smooth-talker and criminal mastermind. A scene in particular where he is speaking to Yami Gautam’s character as she questions him for an interview stands out in the brilliance of its writing and the perfect execution of how a politician can manipulate a situation.
“I think this film is a great team work of some great, really good actors and really good technicians. I have to add huge credit to the cinematographer Avik Mukhopadhyay. I think the camera has its own language in this film throughout and you see Kolkata in sepia.”, says Ms. Dhar
“Pankaj Kapoor doesn’t need any introduction. I’m sure anyone who’s an avid cinema lover would know what a legend he is. The scene that you pointed out is actually one of my most favorite scenes, as you know he says some of the most heavy things. But the way he said it and the way he combined the camaraderie between grandfather and granddaughter while the chat unfolds, where do you find it? Only a genius can carry it off and none other than Pankaj Kapoor.So I just had to sit in, reciprocate and observe what he does, in all those little things in his performances- the speech, his voice, his eye contact, which makes him great. I’m so glad that he agreed to play my grandfather’s role. I enjoyed all the conversations I’ve had with him off screen. What are his favorite films of his ; about his performances. I mean, they’re all masterclasses in each character that he’s performed. You actually sit up and you watch him as he is a masterclass in himself.”
She adds, “Rahul is such a good looking guy, so suave and so naturally charming, so well raised, I think the scene that you are mentioning, while is such an important scene, it was done very easily. Just in one or two days. We just rehearsed one or two times.Rahul is very professional.”
We spoke about the entire process the journalist goes through to track this missing person and how various the missing person gets framed as a maoist while the journalist gets threats to stop her investigation. However, the movie has very unpredictable end to it.
Says Ms. Dhar, “That’s the way film was written. And that’s the director’s version. It ended on a hope on a note of hope. I think the most important thing that Mr. Roy Chaudhary said that to us was that there has to be hope in the end no matter what happens. So that part must have been a director’s vision, but how you it brings a certain humanity to the movie in that whole scenario. Yet that doesn’t give it a conclusive ending.”
Overall, we enjoyed Yami Gautam Dhar’s performance in the movie and hope this opens up for her many more such avenues where she is able to perform to the best of her talent.
Lost is streaming on Zee5Global
WATCH THE INTERVIEW HERE